Graham: Trump should be 'as transparent as possible' about Ukraine call

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenators huddle on Russia sanctions as tensions escalate Juan Williams: It's Trump vs. McConnell for the GOP's future Biden's year two won't be about bipartisanship  MORE (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Monday urged President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver dead at 77 Biden, Democrats losing ground with independent and suburban voters: poll Bipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election law MORE to release as much information as possible about what he said to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky regarding Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Graham, a staunch Trump ally, says the president would help himself by being as transparent as possible about whether he urged the Ukrainian leader to investigate the business ties Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, had with Ukrainian gas company, Burisma Holdings.


Trump’s conversation came to public attention last week after an unnamed whistleblower alerted the intelligence community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson, that Trump made a promise to a foreign leader in a phone call.

“I would urge him to continue to be as transparent as possible and tell us as much as he can without compromising executive privilege so that we can understand what happened,” Graham said in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Monday.

“I would just urge the president — you know, he’s talking openly about the conversation — to release as much as possible,” he added.

Graham predicted that more transparency would only put pressure on Biden to explain his son’s role as a paid board member of Burisma and whether Ukrainian officials or businessmen used him to gain influence in the Obama administration.

“And here’s what I think: I think you’re going to find more about that phone call in the coming days. You’re going to be surprised about the level of transparency regarding that phone call. And in turn, that should put pressure on the system to find more about what Joe Biden was talking about,” Graham told Hewitt.

Trump on Sunday acknowledged to reporters that he discussed Biden with Zelensky, explaining, “We don’t want our people like Vice President BidenJoe BidenFox News reporter says Biden called him after 'son of a b----' remark Peloton responds after another TV character has a heart attack on one of its bikes Defense & National Security — Pentagon puts 8,500 troops on high alert MORE and his son creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine.”

Graham has also called for a broader Department of Justice investigation into attempts by Ukraine to influence the 2016 election in favor of then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPoll: Trump leads 2024 Republican field with DeSantis in distant second The politics of 'mind control' No Hillary — the 'Third Way' is the wrong way MORE.

“Now it’s time for all things Ukraine to be looked at,” Graham said.

“There’s all kind of allegations about the Ukraine dumping information into the legal system and political system in 2016 about Manafort,” Graham added, referring to former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortUS sanctions four Ukrainians for aiding Russian influence operations Manafort book set for August publication Accused spy's lawyers say plans to leave country were over Trump, not arrest MORE, who was sentenced to prison for bank and tax fraud.

Trump defender and lawyer Rudy Guliani has raised questions about whether Ukraine revealed information about Manafort’s business dealings in a bid to help Clinton defeat Trump.

Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian journalist and member of Ukraine’s Parliament who revealed payments between former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Trump, denied the charge in an op-ed published by The Washington Post Saturday. 

“My desire to expose Manafort’s doings was motivated by the desire for justice,” he wrote. “Neither Hillary Clinton, nor Joe Biden, nor John Podesta, nor George Soros asked me to publish the information from the black ledger."

Other Republican senators, however, have raised concerns about reports that Trump may have pressured Ukraine to investigate Biden.

“If the president asked or pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate his political rival, either directly or through his personal attorney, it would be troubling in the extreme. Critical for the facts to come out,” Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyBipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election law There is a bipartisan path forward on election and voter protections Momentum builds for new COVID-19 relief for businesses MORE (R-Utah) tweeted.

Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyConservatives are outraged that Sarah Bloom Raskin actually believes in capitalism Meet Washington's most ineffective senator: Joe Manchin Black women look to build upon gains in coming elections MORE (R-Pa.) on Sunday said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that it is “not appropriate” for a candidate to ask a foreign leader for assistance.